Panamax is coming in October from Stronghold Games. An overview video has been released for nautical eurogame.
In Panamax, players represent companies established in the Colón Free Trade Zone, the largest free port in the Americas, at the entrance to the Panama Canal. Players will negotiate contracts to use ships that arrive at both entrances to the Canal, coming from the USA, China and Europe, which will enable them to profit from the cargo and ship movement. Players will deliver containers onto ships, move ships through the Canal by opening and closing the locks of the Panama Canal, obtain better contracts, invest in the stock market, and hire the best people to work for their companies.
Panamax utilizes several original game mechanics. The highly interactive ship movement system requires players to move their ships through the locks of the Panama Canal, which will also push other players’ ships through the canal simultaneously. This ship movement must be done as efficiently as possible, while not providing too much benefit to the other players’ ships. There is also a die-based action selection system, whereby players remove dice from the movement or cargo loading areas to perform actions. Timing and efficiency of a player’s actions in Panamax is crucial to victory.
After one hundred years in service, the Panama Canal still is one of the most important and impressive engineering achievements in modern times.Built in 1914, it held a prominent role in the deployment of military vessels during WWI and in the conflicts that have followed. Nowadays commercial usage is the core business of the Channel; its economic impact is profound and has not only developed the region, but in fact helped define shipping throughout the world.
In the wake of the Canal’s opening hull designs were influenced accordingly; ships fell into three categories, those that could travel through easily and in groups (Feeder class), massive ocean going ships too big to enter the Canal (ULCV or Ultra Large Container Vessels), and the new standard – designed to the maximum limits of the Panama Canal. These ships are called PANAMAX.
Panamax features several original mechanisms that blend together; an original dice (action) selection table, pickup-and-deliver along a single bi-directional route, a chain reaction movement system – “pushing” ships to make room throughout the Canal and a level of player interaction that is part self-interest, part mutual advantage and the freedom to choose how you play.
On their turn, players remove a die from the Action table to select Contracts and Load Cargo or Move ships until the pool of dice is emptied ending the Round. Over the course of three rounds these actions are blended during the turn to create a logistics network which each player uses to ship their cargo, minimize transportation fees and increase the net worth of their Company. Each Company has a limited amount of Stock that the players can purchase in exchange for investing – receiving a dividend each round. The questions for the players will be which companies are likely to yield higher dividends?
There’s more to explore and several ways to win, but we ask that you join us at the table and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal with a session of Panamax!